A Twitter post claiming that the WHO had “accepted its mistake” and termed Covid a seasonal virus created a flutter, coming as it did with cases rising in several parts of the world. However, a PTI Fact Check found the video tagged with it was dated October 2020 and had nothing to do with the global health organisation.
The Twitter user had shared the false claim on the microblogging site using the video and passing it off as recent, a multi-step Fact Check investigation found. The tweet read: “Breaking News: WHO accepted its mistake and took a complete U-turn and said that Corona is a seasonal virus, it is a cough, cold and sore throat that occurs during the change of weather, there is no need to panic. (Sic).”
PTI scanned the World Health Organisation’s official website and social media handles but could not find any such statement. Had the WHO made any such announcement, it would have grabbed headlines across news websites. With the tweet, posted on December 29, was a 45-second video in which a man can be heard saying, “Yes, so these are the statements of experts, doctors, and other scientists and activists worldwide. And we have this good message: we see no evidence of a medical pandemic. So, it looks like a plandemic.
“And we all say we don't want this new normal certainly. And we don't want to go back to the old normal because the old normal created this situation of new normal. We want a better normal, and we want it together with you! Thank you very much indeed!" In the first step to verify the video’s authenticity, the Fact Check team did a Google Reverse Image Search on one of its keyframes. On the results page, it found a video by ACU (Außerparlamentarischer Corona- Untersuchungsausschuss) dated Nov 13, 2020.
The headline of the original video read: "A better normal, not a new normal! Foundation of the WDA – World." A close watch of the entire 18.17-minute video on the website revealed that the clip shared in the tweet was just a selective small chunk. The clip used in the Twitter post appears between 16.35-17.21 minutes and the man speaking is German doctor Heiko Schöning.
The English transcript of the video suggested that the people in the video were doctors from different countries participating in the WDA to talk about the policies on coronavirus. They had gathered in Berlin to announce the World Doctors Alliance under the roof of ACU2020.ORG on October 10, 2020.
The Fact Check team concluded that the video shared on social media dated back to October 2020, the first year of the pandemic, and was from a different group of doctors. A small clip of the original video from WDA’s conference in Berlin was shared on social media as recent with a false claim. Readers can contact the PTI Fact Check team on WhatsApp number +91-8130503759 to share a claim or social media post they think needs a fact check.